[This review is spoiler free]
An unpopular opinion (I have many of those), but I liked Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice, and the longer cut of the film makes it one of my favorite films. With it's release, many more DC Comic movies were set for release. One of these was a welcome surprise, Aquaman, and i have been waiting to see this movie for a couple of years now.
Despite his ridicule across the past half-century, I always thought Aquaman was cool, and after reading Geoff John's take on the character that he did early in the New 52 era of DC Comics, Aquaman became one of my favorite superheroes. I have a fridge magnet and two shirts, and have been wanting figures of some characters.
People may ask why, nay, they always do, and I explain Aquaman's base plot-points as laid out by Geoff Johns: Arthur Curry is not only the heir to the Throne of Atlantis, he is also an unwelcome hybrid is an outcast between two worlds, and he runs from the world as a result. A time comes however when he must conquer his self-doubts and take up responsibility, and stops his half-brother from totally destroying the surface world and take up the Throne of Atlantis to create world peace. After that he has to watch over a people that doubt his place in power and conspire his downfall and represent his people in face of a surface world that holds him responsible for the actions of his people and predecessor. Also, the ocean is quite deep and vast, so supernatural forces often come to the forefront.
The 2018 movie is largely inspired by the the Geoff John's run on Aquaman, but also takes inspiration from many points from throughout the character's long history as a comic book character. And i say inspired because it does not follow the comics point-per-point, and I largely applaud the vision seen in this movie as it takes many liberties, and some of those decisions I found myself preferring over the source material. Others, i think the source material did better.
Story-wise, the movie is a little all over the place, something that would have been helped out in a clear Lord of the Rings-style intro exposition rather than telling such lore details in passing. A moment was given to explain everything but it was rather rushed. And the plot is very reliant on this world's history of the Empire of Atlantis and the varying kingdoms it split into (most of the existing remnants are mutants), so making it more clear would have been helpful. Also brief showing of character names a la Burn Notice would have been good.
Another point to gripe about is West Sahara. The transition for the first royal duel and the events there and the arrival to West Sahara have quite the jarring difference in tone. You got to ease into the tone difference so ti is not natural, you don't go from being edge-of-the-seat action, to making jokes that felt more befitting of a romantic comedy. Redoing West Sahara prior to the ruins would have been preferred. Likewise, the action scenes in Siciliy lasted too long, took away from the overall plot.
But to what i loved, were the elements of high sci-fantasy and the visuals. Sweet Jesus, the scale of the visuals were ambitious, the scope of the lights of Atlantis made you feel small, and the ending large-scale battle felt like an underwater version of Warhammer 40k. Another note are the sound effects, you actually feel as if they were filmed underwater, as both the vision fitted this and it sounded like they spoke underwater. And all the lore? I was able to pick up on it along the way, and i feel like we were only teased at the full scope of the underwater realms and the stuff related to them. Of all the DC Comics movies made with this universe, this movie felt like it carried more franchise potential then the main Superman entries.
So, is this a perfect movie? No, but i loved this movie and I can look past the small mistakes. I implore everyone to go give this movie a shot and see more to Aquaman than just the orange dude that talks to fish. i was purposefully vague here because everything i liked is important to the story and i don't want any spoilers.